Teen Wilderness Adventure Camp welcomes kids from military families

Nearly 50 children of Virginia National Guard and active duty military parents participated in the Teen Wilderness Adventure Camp held at Wilderness Adventure at Eagle Landing in New Castle June 24-28. Operation Military Kids and the Virginia National Guard Youth Program partnered to offer the teens the opportunity to “step away from the worries of life” to enjoy a a multitude of outdoor events including rock-wall climbing, zip lining, kayaking, hiking, first aid and many other activities that exhume confidence and build teamwork. (Photo by Sgt. Luther L. Boothe, Jr. Virginia National Guard Public Affairs)

Nearly 50 children of Virginia National Guard and active duty military parents participated in the Teen Wilderness Adventure Camp held at Wilderness Adventure at Eagle Landing in New Castle June 24-28. Operation Military Kids and the Virginia National Guard Youth Program partnered to offer the teens the opportunity to “step away from the worries of life” to enjoy a a multitude of outdoor events including rock-wall climbing, zip lining, kayaking, hiking, first aid and many other activities that exude confidence and build teamwork. (Photo by Sgt. Luther L. Boothe, Jr., Virginia National Guard Public Affairs)

NEW CASTLE, Va. — Nearly 50 children attended the 5th annual Teen Wilderness Adventure Camp held at Wilderness Adventure at Eagle Landing in New Castle June 24-28. The children were all dependents of Virginia National Guard and active duty military families and were exposed to a multitude of outdoor events including rock-wall climbing, zip lining, kayaking, hiking, first aid and many other activities that exude confidence and build teamwork.

“The (Virginia National Guard) Youth Program partnered with Operation Military Kids to bring 50 teens up here ranging in ages from 13 to 17,” said Drew Davis, director of youth programs for the Virginia National Guard. “The program is really about giving the kids an opportunity to come out here and have some fun by offering them an environment where they can step away from the worries of life and just enjoy themselves for the week.”

Nearly 50 children of Virginia National Guard and active duty military parents participated in the Teen Wilderness Adventure Camp held at Wilderness Adventure at Eagle Landing in New Castle June 24-28. Operation Military Kids and the Virginia National Guard Youth Program partnered to offer the teens the opportunity to “step away from the worries of life” to enjoy a a multitude of outdoor events including rock-wall climbing, zip lining, kayaking, hiking, first aid and many other activities that exhume confidence and build teamwork. (Photo by Sgt. Luther L. Boothe, Jr. Virginia National Guard Public Affairs)

Operation Military Kids and the Virginia National Guard Youth Program partnered to offer the teens the opportunity to “step away from the worries of life” to enjoy a a multitude of outdoor events including rock-wall climbing, zip lining, kayaking, hiking, first aid and many other activities that exhume confidence and build teamwork. (Photo by Sgt. Luther L. Boothe, Jr. Virginia National Guard Public Affairs)

The program is referred to as a “purple” camp, offering active-duty kids from all branches and Virginia National Guard children the opportunity to interact and develop relationships in a safe, fun and structured learning environment, he said. “There is no doubt that many of the campers, especially those from the city or beach, are getting exposure to this type of environment for the first time,” said Davis. “A testament to the success of the camp is our high retention rating even though many of (the participants) travel six or more hours to be here.”

Kiev Morgan, 15, of Prince George, Va., is a two-time veteran of the event and is already making plans to attend next year.

“This camp is a lot of fun,” he said. “It really is a neat experience and is nice to come out here and get to do all the fun (activities), especially the rock-wall climbing and kayaking.”

For Morgan and many of the other campers it is not just about the activities, but making friends through a common understanding of military life. “At this camp, having military parents is something that we all go through, it is something that we all talk about,” said Morgan. “It gives us something in common and we can build on it from there.”

For the organizers and volunteers it is about having fun while giving back to the children of men and women in uniform.

“Our main focus is to make sure our military youth are well taken care of no matter what is going on, on or off the battlefield,” said Davis.

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